If you are reading this post, it may mean that you are committed to creating or building or growing your coaching practice. If so, it may be time to take that commitment and apply it to your coaching practice in a meaningful way.
I do not know if you have taken a lot of coach training before; however, you have probably noticed a lot of talk about dream clients. You may have seen some kind of worksheet that asks you to figure out what kind of car they drive and where they went on their vacation and what they had for dinner last night. Those were pretty valuable exercises when they were first created, and they are still valid now. But it is helpful to know what problem those exercises were initially solving.
At that time in the personal coaching industry, a lot of newly-minted life coaches were walking around saying, “I am a coach! I am a coach! I am a coach!” as if it actually mattered to anybody. They spent all their money learning how to coach people, and then when it came time to hang out their shingle, no one wanted to be coached. A few savvy marketers realized that coaches, when asked who they wanted to serve, were the types of people to say, “I don’t know. I just want to help people”. As this is a recipe for a mailbox full of bills in red envelopes, these savvy marketers turned some old-school target demographics exercises into something that would work in a coaching model.
A lot of people treat the dream client exercise as though it is the foundation of an entire coaching business. It is a useful exercise. If you have not done it yet, stare at the wall for a while and ask yourself, “What does my perfect client feel, about what, and why, as it relates to each and every one of their daily activities?” They go to Macys. How do they feel about it? Are they pleased with themselves for spending their family’s money wisely, or does it give them the heebie jeebies? They put their purchases into their 2014 Camry. What is their position on the Camry? Are they happy they purchased it? Why or why not? What would they have bought instead? Why?
Spend about a day on this. You now understand your dream client better than they understand themselves, and you can speak a language they understand and relate to. You are best buddies now. And you just saved $2,000 on that coach marketing seminar in California.
Truthfully, you really do not need to know whether Jennifer from Poughkeepsie likes sugar on her cereal because it reminds her of going to her family home. Nice to know, but no need to know. What you need to know is what is broken in the world that you feel compelled and qualified to fix, and for whom? We do not need to fill out 13 pages worth of worksheets. What you need to know is what is broken in the world that you feel compelled and qualified to fix, and for whom.
Do not overcomplicate this. Building, running and growing a coaching business is not hard. Coaching is not hard. Certain experts want you to think it is hard so they can charge you 20 grand to spend several hours with you, telling you how hard it is. It is not. You just need to know what is broken in the world that you feel compelled and qualified to fix, and for whom. That is all.
How This Works
Now, the what problem and for whom exercise is a really good one and it simplifies so much of the dreamy, airy fairy part of the business building process. But it is step one. Is it the foundation of your coaching practice? Kind of. But only in the way that the land is the foundation for the house. Having the land does not equal having the house. You still have to build your very small company. To coach people, you must have people. People who like you and want you are good. People who like you and want you and are ready to pay you are better.
So go ahead and figure out what problem you are solving. If you coach women in transition — can somebody please tell me what the heck that means? — what problem are you solving?
If you are a creativity coach, what problem are you solving?
If you are a marketing coach, what problem are you solving?
“Transition” can mean anything, “creativity” can mean anything, “marketing” can mean anything. Think about problems, because you can be sure that is what your client is thinking about.
Once you have done that, before you do anything else each morning, tell yourself, “I am building a business. I am building a company. It is a small company, but it is a company, and it is mine.” Then make sure that what you are doing that day contributes actively to building that company. Make sure it contributes to solving the problem you were put on earth to solve. Hint: It’s probably not sharing your competitor’s blog post with your 801 Twitter followers. Your clients will not take your company seriously until you do. Etch this in your brain. Do this every day until you retire, which will happen a lot sooner if you do this exercise 🙂